Viking announces further fleet expansion as riving cruising booms
Tuesday 23 August 2011
Viking River Cruises has announced that it is to add a further two vessels to its fleet next year, as vacationers' appetites for river cruising shows no sign of abating.
The company, which offers cruises along rivers in Europe, Russia, China, Southeast Asia and Egypt, confirmed August 18 that it had upped its order by two to ensure six new vessels join its fleet in 2012.
The new craft, Viking Embla and Viking Aegir, will launch during the summer and each offer 95 rooms, including two of the largest river cruise suites in Europe, seven suites with separate living room and 39 "Veranda Staterooms" with outside verandas.
They will also include an upper deck dining area and several green features, including hybrid engines, solar panels and an on-board organic herb garden.
The sister ships also set to join next year - the Viking Freya, Viking Idun, Viking Njord and Viking Odin - will all debut in March and will feature the same layout and 443 foot (135 meter) length.
Viking says that it is responding to demand with the new ships and that next year will see an 'unprecedented' number of launches of river vessels, which are far better suited to navigating smaller continental waterways than their blue-sea equivalents.
It's another sign of the rapidly-growing popularity of river cruising, which many consumers see as a happy balance between a vacation aboard a large ocean-going liner and a land-based tour.
AMA Waterways, another river cruising firm which operates 12 ships through Europe, Russia, Vietnam and Cambodia, has added eight new river ships to its European fleet in just five years and plans to add another one - the AmaCerto - next April.
AmaCerto will be the largest ship operated by the fleet and will offer twin balconies in staterooms, multiple dining venues and a heated pool.
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